Category: Latest

Clapton: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes irony can strike in the cruellest of ways. Clapton FC is one of the oldest surviving names on the London non-league circuit, but after years of slow decline the club’s recent improvement on the pitch in the Essex Senior League is being rapidly unwound by the inexplicable behaviour of its owner, and matters reached a point last week at which push came to shove over whether the Tons would even be able to start the new season, even though the club finished the season as the league’s runners-up last time around. To scratch at the surface of Clapton’s...

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Leyton Orient: The Sun Rises In The East 

Three summers ago, Leyton Orient supporters were rueing what might have been. Beaten only by a penalty shoot-out at Wembley with a place in the Football League Championship at stake, the club was setting course on a new journey following the decision of Barry Hearn to sell it to the Italian businessman Francesco Bechetti. Optimism and nervousness have a tendency to be familiar bedfellows, but how might things turn out for one of English football’s perennial stalwart clubs. We know the answer to this question now, of course. Having been so close to the second tier of English football,...

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The State of the Nation, 2017/18: An Overview 

There’s a chance that the summer of 2017 will, presuming that society doesn’t completely collapse over the next couple of months or so, come to be remembered as The Summer of No Football. There is a feeling of apathy hanging over the game as the year reaches its longest day, an air of lethargy that feels only accentuated by the heatwave that is currently overwhelming so many of us. For those of us that have thrown our lot in with writing about the game, this provides something of a dilemma. Our raison d’etre – be it money, an interest...

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FIFA’s Video Assistant Referees: How VAR Should They Go?

The Video Assistant Referees (VARs) experiment at the just-finished Under-20s World Cup in the Korean Republic was undoubtedly successful. As was the system itself, largely. Whether the people running it were as successful is a different matter…and possibly doesn’t matter. The primary object of any experiment is to subject its subject to vigorous, wide-ranging scrutiny, to determine how it would work under as many different circumstances as possible, and highlight any problems, potential or active. This experiment certainly did that. Amid the fabulous Eurosport commentary-box set-to during the Italy/Zambia quarter-final, one issue emerged above all. A poor overall understanding...

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The FIFA Under-20s World Cup: A Final Reckoning

England’s finest footballing hour since 1966, claimed pundits who had only just discovered there WAS an Under-20s World Cup in the Korean Republic, let alone that England were the best team in it. Welcome, bandwagon jumpers. Anyway, I told you so. About how good Under-20s World Cups are and how England would win this one. Regular readers will know of, and be wearied by, my insistence that less-well-known international football tournaments have merited more attention than filling space on Eurosport when there’s no tennis, cycling or ski-ing on. So, while I’ll never need Danny Mills for vindication, it was...

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